Local may be a word that can best be defined by what it isn’t rather than exactly what it is. For instance, local can be far away, but not too far away, and if you are at the cut off for far away and can see something just over the hill, well then that isn’t too far away either. Geography might only begin to describe what local means, for example Amish, are considered local to this area of North Eastern Ohio no matter the exact location of this specific group of people. Local could very well be defined by growing regions, but even these lines blur, but surely here in Cleveland I would shy away from local citrus fruit for example. All of these are ideas up for conversation, but from the poll results we can all agree on two things that local are not; first, anything grown in the USA, or secondly processed goods that use raw ingredients that are close to the processing plant while neither are close to you.
From what I’ve read in the NY Times the second of these two ideas that we agree are not within the definition of local are exactly the ideas that big business are pushing on use, and I’m both offended and scared by this. Organic labels means very little to me these days. The idea has been watered down to the point it too is better defined by what it isn’t rather than exactly what it is. I’ve discussed organic with farmers and dinners alike and most people convey that “organic” has a feeling of both corruption and elitism. Perhaps I’m interpreting this to the extreme. But it’s a slippery slope till labeling things as local gets the same stigma.
I regress, and wait patiently for my favorite farmers markets to open. Only 2 weeks till Lakewood and Kamms.